29 December 2008

Ta Da!

The chosen yarn! After much deliberation, this is the one. The one with which I will knit a cabled cardigan. It's Queensland Collection Kathmandu, 85% merino, 10% Silk, 5% Cashmere. I spent a good long time deciding between this and Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed. Folks on Ravelry have used both, reporting good results.
The deciding factor? There were two. First, this one is slightly softer (mmm..., cashmere) which is important in a sweater with a collar. Second, this red leans a bit toward the brown side of red (warm), while the Debbie Bliss was more of a wine colour (cool). I'm trying to branch out in my palette and choose outside the jewel tones. I know this is not a radical departure but it's a start.

Unfortunately, the Kathmandu is also $2.00 more per skein. I have spent far, far, more on this yarn than on any previous project. I usually knit large pieces from recycled yarn or the bargain bin.
I better not screw this up!

27 December 2008

The Paper Place, Me Want

The Paper Place is having an AMAZING contest! For details on how to win this paper dream tied up in a bow go Here. Thanks to Elisabetha and her wonderful blog for the tip off about the contest.
In order to gain five more entries, as per the contest rules, here is a picture of a craft The Daughter and I made using Chiyogami purchased at the store. (It's the skirt.)

Oooh...I hope, I hope I win!

26 December 2008

I Shall Box

Tomorrow is the annual Boxing Day sale at Romni. I worked on that day last year, so I feel entirely justified in attending the 2008 version. This little knitten kitten needs a swift.
It's also high time I had a serious wrap-style, woolly cardigan. I'm thinking of Forestry from Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting. It's a bit daunting but if I go slow and steady, I'm sure I'm up to it. There are several luscious cardis in that issue. Regardless, I'll need about 11-1200 metres of a good winter yarn. I wonder if there's anything I can afford?
In sadder news, while toasting the season the other night at the local pub, I was separated from one of my beautiful Plush mittens. I stopped in this evening on my way home from work. It's not in the lost and found. Le sigh...

25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing You All Peace

21 December 2008

O Secret Pal, O Secret Pal. How Lovely Are Your Branches.

I picked up a parcel from my O So Lovely Secret Pal yesterday then went directly to a coffee shop for latte and package opening. So pretty! She gifted me some gorgeous sheets of craft paper and one hilarious fridge magnet.

Check out these fun vintage knitting patterns she sent. I'm quite intrigued by the lace pattern in the knitted suit and am wondering how it could be used in a more updated way. The ladder lace of the second sweater is very reminiscent of the Knitting Lingerie Style top I finished last year. Just goes to show that a good idea never goes out of style.

There was also a bag of AMAZING hazelnut coffee grinds. I had two cups for breakfast this morning. I'm in love. The paper bag still sits on my kitchen counter. I know I should put it in the fridge but the wonderful aroma fills the apartment and I want that to continue just a bit longer.
Thanks a million Itsa Secret. Happy Holidays!

17 December 2008

The Discovery

The Discovery
do not imagine that the exploration
ends, that she has yielded all her mystery
or that the map you hold
cancels further discovery

I tell you her uncovering takes years,
takes centuries, and when you find her naked
look again.
admit there is something else you cannot name,
a veil, a coating just above the flesh
which you cannot remove by your mere wish

when you see the land naked, look again
(burn your maps, that is not what I mean.)
I mean the moment when it seems most plain
is the moment when you must begin again

Gwendolyn MacEwen
The Shadow-Maker
The Macmillan Company of Canada

13 December 2008

In Which I Fall Into the Trap

I appear to have slipped unwittingly into the Christmas knitting trap. It began with the shawl, knitted for the sake of knitting the lace. Upon deciding that it would be gifted to a niece, I then knit wrist warmers for niece #2. The next step was knitting these two washcloths for my two sisters. Economy dictated this decision. I just grabbed some stash cotton and "whipped em up". I'll be wrapping the cloths around some lovely, handmade soaps that I purchased at a craft show. Now, there's one nephew left. It would seem wrong to give knitted gifts to all except him. Thus I am madly knitting a pair of mittens.
The ridiculous part? I see them all TOMORROW. My sister is hosting an early Christmas dinner for the family because she's working over the actual holiday dates. I've still got one mitten to go and I'm working today. I don't even want to think about the late night gift wrapping I'll be doing tonight.
The men in the family are getting booze.

09 December 2008

Poetry to Fill Some Space

I'm hating all over my job these days and that threatens to diminish my pleasure in the rest of my life.
My daughter continues to grow into a beautiful person. My apartment is tidy. Christmas is approaching and I look forward to a holiday season of no expectations. The trees on my street are lovely to pass every day on the way to the streetcar.

'My heart went fluttering with fear
Lest you should go, and leave me here.
To beat my breast and rock my head
And stretch me sleepless on my bed.
Ah, clear they see and true they say
That one shall weep, and one shall stray
For such is Love's unvarying law.
I never thought, I never saw
That I should be the first to go;
How pleasant that it happened so!

Dorothy Parker
Collected Poems: Not So Deep As A Well
MacMillan 1936.

03 December 2008

Filigree, Filigraa ha ha ha....

Pattern: Filigree from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves
Designer: Robin Melanson
Yarn: Scheepjes Softfun, 60% Cotton, 40% acrylic
I can't find any references to the yarn anywhere. I believe it may be discontinued which is unfortunate indeed.
Modifications: This yarn is a bit lighter than the one called for so I had to use smaller needles to get a neat lace and knit the largest size to get gauge.

Still loving this book. This is the third pattern I've knit from it. These are super quick yet look so stylish and advanced. Yay for deception! I don't think I knit the lace exactly as intended as it looks quite different from the book's photos. However, I figure as long as I keep making the same mistake, it goes from error to design element.

These are destined as a Christmas gift for the other niece. The great thing is, though they took three days rather than the year spent on her sister's stole, they look just as fabulous. I suspect they'll be worn more as well.

28 November 2008

Can't Wait to See the Inside

Standing outside the new AGO front, waiting for a friend this afternnon, I spent some time with an old friend. Two Large Forms (1966-69) Henry Moore.
I quite like the new front and hope to see the new inside very soon.

23 November 2008

SP Overload

Friday. I was enjoying a nap on my well deserved day off when the door bell rang. Groggily, I stumbled down the stairs, to greet the very attractive and friendly postman who was holding a parcel addressed to me.
It's the final package from my Secret Pal 12. Included was a note of apology for the lateness. Her sewing machine broke! so the gifts she was making by hand for me! were held up. Check out the two gorgeous hand made project bags. These babies are lined. And have zippers. Magical voodoo sewing skills both. Yes, beside the chopsticks, that is Noro sock yarn peeking out of the whimsically Asian inspired bag. There's also a yarn I'd never heard of - Kertzer On Your Toes Bamboo. It's 75% bamboo, 25% nylon sock weight yarn that is lustrous and decadently soft. It's all too much to take in. There's chocolate, tea, knitting needles and bath products. Thank you, thank you to Heather of Ewe Gotta Knit.
Of all the lovely things, the one that touched me the most was the stones and the necklace to hold them. I mist over pretty easily these days, but when a virtual stranger sends a gift that makes me cry in my living room, there's something special going on. No Heather, I don't think you're weird. I believe that positive energy emitted in actions with good intention, creates more of the same. Is that Karma? My Eastern philosophy is weak. Whatever. It's all good stuff.
Rose Quartz: Heart and Throat Chakra
Stimulates & attracts love, promotes peace & happiness and emits a calming energy. Reinstates self love, gentle love. Promotes receptivity to art, music and literature.
Stone of peace, calms fears, raises hopes, lifts spirits and strengthens commitments. Helps overcome addictions. Increases psychic awareness. Aids good judgement.
Unakite: Heart Chakra
Helps one to deal with past events which have blocked one's growth. Allows for rebirth. Balances the emotional body. Brings ones Consciousness to the present allowing one to combine thought and action.

21 November 2008

Home Today

I have an armchair next to the dining room window and I drink my coffee there every morning. Today, this was the view. I never lose sight of the fact that I live in a beautiful neighbourhood and if I rent this view rather than owning it, who cares? Watching the seasons change through my window has been a daily joy.

My new Secret Pal expressed curiosity about my paper dolls. Here is their current wardrobe as they hang on the living room wall. From left to right, The Daughter made the first and second dresses. I made the third and fourth. We change them about once a week. It's renewable art! Yes, I know it's odd but I don't care.

19 November 2008

Way To Go UN!

Has anyone else heard of this?? The officially declared International Year of Natural Fibres? It's freakin excellent.

Upon discovery of this site, I immediately emailed my friend who works for the UN. Sadly, he doesn't work in this division. He's in the puny Development branch, saving the world by promoting peace and prosperity... or some such. However he agrees with me that sheep can probably save the world. He also interprets this initiative as further proof of the relevancy of the United Nations. Yay for sustainable agriculture.

What I want to know is: How can I join the jute study group? For now, I'm just subscribing to the email list.

16 November 2008

SP 13 Questionnaire

I'm doing the latest round of Secret Pal . This feels weird because my last Secret Pal still has not revealed herself Who are you??

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I really like cotton blends more and more. Cotton with silk, with viscose, linen, wool, nylon. I saw a beautiful new South American one recently that was cotton/alpaca. Gorgeous.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Everybody lives in peace in my divided desk drawer. I've recently started keeping the circs, still in the original plastic sleeves, in one of those dollar store drawstring fabric gift bags. It works very well.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Knitting since childhood (taught by Mom) but seriously for about five years. I now and forever will consider myself to be intermediate. I know too many amazingly gifted knitters to ever call myself advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent?
Sandalwood. I also like lavender, citrus and bergamot. I'm not fond of smelling like desserts such as vanilla and strawberry.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
My downfall is the salty, greasy side of the spectrum and I'm trying to correct that. However, I do enjoy a lovely sweet now and then! Chocolate? Gumdrops? Mmmm... No cookies please as I am wheat sensitive.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
No spinning. I took a crochet class recently and made a wonky looking facecloth! I dabble in beads, making my own stitch markers. I still like making paper doll clothes and am always on the lookout for fun paper and embellishments.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I have eclectic taste. Don't like hard core country or hip hop.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Still into the jewel tones - purple, red, blue, purple, rose, purple, dark green, purple.
till find yellow icky.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Right now it's just me and The Daughter (14). We hope to adopt a cat soon.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Lace, mitts, wrist warmers, tops, doll clothes and on and on....
I would never knit an afghan or one of those toilet paper covers.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A Fiona Ellis designed tank top, socks and gloves..

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes, of course.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I change it up depending on the project and the yarn. I like pretty needles and sometimes just buy a set because they look so darn cute.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No. Boo hoo.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
6 months old.

18. What winrter holidays do you observe?
I celebrate Christmas.
19. Is there anything that you collect?
Attempts at life simplification have led to the disposal of many old collections. I do however, continue to acquire vintage knitting books and magazines from the
50's, 60's and 70's.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
No subscriptions at present. I do like Rebecca and wouldn't mind some current issues.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'd like to learn basic colour work and I still need more expansion of my cast on methods.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yup! Size 8 shoe.

23. When is your birthday?
June 6. I am a proud Gemini. I notice that many of my knitting friends are Gemini as well. What do you think that means?

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
I am but I hardly ever go on the site. I'm longyarn.

09 November 2008


You Are a Lemon Margarita

Sour, tangy, and overpowering, you tend to give people a jolt back into reality.

While you don't sugar coat things, you're honest - which is actually quite refreshing.

06 November 2008


On the streetcar, one guy says to other guy,
"We need to educate them on the functionality of the new systems."

How do I get an invite to that party?

02 November 2008

Everybody Say Ya!

Finally, finally, the wrap I started last summer is done. In a year and a half, it has gone from a Value Village recycled sweater, to this Sea and Shells Stole. It will be a Christmas gift for my niece. She's at prom age and this would be lovely with a summery dress. If she doesn't care for stoles, she can always wear it bunched up as a winter scarf. Now, of course, I have to knit something for her sister as well. Something that doesn't take a year!

26 October 2008

Super Fast Gloves

Here's a speedy quick knit, great for the morning streetcar ride. They took just three days from start to finish. These are a gift for a friend of my kid. She requested black with a pink stripe. She's getting dark gray as it was the closest appropriate yarn I had in my stash.
Pattern: Evening Light, Knitting New Mittens & Gloves
Designer: Robin Melanson
Needles: 3mm straights. The pattern calls for 3.5mm

22 October 2008

The Apartment

Yes, I am knitting. In fact I have four WIP's at the moment. I even finished something today. Alas, no photos yet.

Instead, here is my pretty new apartment. Red wall? You bet! Also, I know the new couch is strangely ugly. I knew it as I was paying for it. It just called to me across the floor at the Sears clearance sale. It cried out,
"Look at me...I'm ugly and sturdy...You know you want me."
O yes.

15 October 2008


I understand why Richard Ouzounian, theatre "critic" for the Toronto Star, disliked the play Scratch, playing currently at Factory Theatre. It is not pretty, nor tidy, nor is it fun for the whole family. All qualities he admires.
It is messy and uncomfortable. In it people ache and hurt so openly that it is painful to watch. In their pain, these characters behave inappropriately, indeed badly, toward one another. Wanting to smack down the main character, a 15 year old girl with a dying mother, is not a comfortable feeling to have as an audience member. Asserting, as Mr. Ouzounian does, that this is somehow the playwright's fault, that the protagonist should have been more "likeable", says more about him than it does about the gifts of the writer, Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman. For she is gifted. This is a poem, a love song to her mother and to her own younger self. The language is spare and true.
Here are people struggling so deeply with loss, that they are unable to meet each other's needs. The Father, grieving for his beloved wife, cannot help his daughter. The Aunt who has always relied on being useful, but is rejected and therefore lost. The best friend, a budding artist, who wants to say good-bye to her mentor but cannot because she is not "family". Even the Mother doesn't have the decency to die in nice, movie-of-the-week fashion, refusing to "waste her energy on making them feel better."
And Anna, self-centred yet, so lost, so infuriating. For Charlotte to play her fictionalized self this way is brave and heart wrenching.
Read Layne Coleman's article:
Read Carole Corbeil's work if you can find it.
Go see Scratch.

13 October 2008


Well, I am thankful. That much is true. In every single way, things are better for me than they were this time last year.
Except one.
I miss The Daughter terribly. It's been a very long, long weekend indeed. This morning she went back to Dad's and I spent my day off lost and aimless. How does anybody ever get used to this part?

11 October 2008


How do you spend your Saturday nights? Last Saturday, my main activity was this:

Stash sorting! I am not embarrassed to admit that it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had in a long while. I dumped all the various boxes, baskets and bags onto a sheet on the living room floor and went to town. My! I own a bit of yarn!

I sorted by fibre; cotton, wool, and blends. Later talking to other knitters I heard of some who sort by colour and others by weight.

I've been buying quite a few sheet sets lately what with the move and two new beds. I kept the clear plastic bags they came in. You know the kind. Some have snaps. Some have zippers. Well, they are excellent yarn storage bags. Recycle baby!

08 October 2008

Day 7 - Green Tuesday

Well, The Ribon Project has ended. I'm so glad I participated again. It makes a nice break from the sleepwalking nature of going to and from somewhere routine to stop, look, tie a ribbon and take a picture. The project Flickr Set is here.

This may be my favourite shot of the week...
This one is pretty...
This one is whimsical...

06 October 2008

Day 6 - Orange Monday

This morning on the way to work...

This evening in a Thai restaurant on the way home...

Day 5 - Red Sunday

How appropriate that red ribbon day was spent knitting more roses for Michelle and Adam's wedding. Guinness the cat enjoys a spot of red!

On the way there I passed what is now 'The Basement', but what used to be Jeff Healey's first club. I used to ride by it every day on my way home from work and sometimes spotted him outside. Now, it's just black and ordinary. All the magic is gone.

04 October 2008

Day 4 - Purple Saturday

I voted in the advance poll today. I had a hard time deciding this time around. There are two excellent candidates in my riding. One Liberal and the other NDP. Either will be a fine representative on Parliament Hill. The troubling part is that they're running against each other here and that doesn't help get rid of any Tories. Good candidates (I'm talking to you Mr, Kennedy) should be effecting "change" by unseating the Conservatives, not playing politics against other good folk.

Day 3 - Yellow Friday

I worked the football on Friday. This is what I saw during my break.

02 October 2008

Day 2 - Blue Thursday

Blue, blue sky this morning. My ringless hand.

01 October 2008

Ribbons! Day 1 Pink Wednesday

It's time again for Hannah Godfrey's Ribbon Project. Yay! I considered not participating this year. You know...busy and all that. Then I realized that I was worried about re-visiting the space I was in this time last year. It was such a struggle finding little causes of cheer to mark. I was so low then.
That is precisely why I need to ribbon my spaces this year. I intend to really feel how this feels. What's it like to create art from a place of peace and curiosity rather than one of pain and striving?

So I toasted the project's beginning around midnight last night then had a giggle on the King car this morning.

28 September 2008

Sunday In The Park

All parents know what it's like to emerge from a child's illness. Three days and nights spent indoors with a feverish, sad offspring can't help but be disorienting. The making of broth, the sleep interrupted by night time thermometer and medicine, the tissues and cartoons (yes there are still cartoons in the teens when a fever is involved). One comes out the other side groggy and often, as is my case, sick oneself.
So this Sunday I have not done any of things I had considered doing. I did not attend Word on the Street, or the St. Clair Art Walk or car free Sunday in Kensington Market. A short walk in neighbouring High Park with my knitting was all I could manage before running back home to another nap.

I've been working today on the lace stole I started last summer. It's almost as long as I am now. I believe one more pattern repeat of 12 rows should do it. Then, finally, it's time to cast off, soak and block.

25 September 2008

Poor Plant

I got two birthday presents this year; a jar of hand cream from my sister, and this plant from The Daughter. It's called a Somona or Forever Flower. Lately, it's not doing too well. Not only is it not flowering, the leaves are turning yellow and shrivelling up. I've read up on it. Apparently it likes full sun and occasional fertilizer. I'm doing that but no improvement. The Chinese lucky cats aren't helping either. I'm thinking it just doesn't like the cooler temperatures?
I'm sad. Any ideas?

20 September 2008


Well, the business cards arrived. They're very pretty and such but my name is mispelled in the email line - rendering them somewhat useless.


16 September 2008


I started my new job last week. It's only part time but it provides new challenges and a new environment while still staying in enough touch with my comfort zone. Combined with my other part time position, I can pay the rent and feed and clothe The Daughter.
Today, my business cards were ordered. I've never had business cards before and admit to getting a little rush seeing my name on the layout. I think I'll send one to the ex. :)

09 September 2008

Well, I Do Enjoy a Nice Latte

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium